Mountain Bike Tips

What Are the Best Mountain Bike Shorts?

August 13, 2022

Abit Shorts.

That’s it. Those are the shorts to get.

To claim the best shorts is use­less since so many unique pref­er­ences and body shapes dic­tate what is best for you, but I have no sec­ond doubt on what I’m wear­ing for every lap unless I go straight span­dex or pants for the winter.

When pick­ing out shorts, what I’m look­ing for is some­thing that will have a con­struc­tion that is light and breath­able, but also tough enough to take the abuse of the ride. Pock­ets need to be in the right place, the right size, and secure. And the fit needs to be com­fort­able, flex­i­ble, and adjustable.

Justin Van­der Pol mod­el­ing the Abit in Ath­let­ic fit, pho­to by Chad Black

The Details

The fit is dialed. In my rid­ing net­work, many friends have these shorts and most also agree that the fit works. They come in the tra­di­tion­al waist sizes but also add a big booty ver­sion for rid­ers that have extra in the trunk. I would have guessed I was in that cat­e­go­ry since I’m gen­er­al­ly shaped like a bar­rel, but when talk­ing with own­er, Justin, he said, if you haven’t expe­ri­enced dif­fi­cul­ty find­ing rid­ing shorts that fit your back­side, you should get the stan­dard fit. My details for ref­er­ence: 5’7” 185lbs and find most pants I wear are in the 33–34 range. My Abits are the 32” stan­dards and they are per­fect. I also have a pair of 34” shorts but they are big­ger than I want when rid­ing so I gen­er­al­ly ride the 32s and use the 34s for kick­ing around the house (very com­fort­able).  I always have Rapha bibs under­neath and wear knee pads.

The reten­tion is a com­fort­able, slim, cam on each hip. As the day goes long, I gen­er­al­ly snug them up a hair and it’s easy enough to adjust one hand­ed while riding.

4 pock­ets, all zip­pered. The side thigh zip­per is per­fect for the cell phone. I ride with my phone in my right pock­et all the time. It’s my cam­era and map and the quick access is very easy.  That said, I do not rec­om­mend rid­ing with your phone in your pock­et, as it is at risk of hurt­ing your leg, or you might smash your phone if the ride is inter­rupt­ed with a crash. There is also enough room to haul enough for a short ride.

The Build! I have 3 sea­sons on 1 and 2 on the oth­ers.  There is not a stitch out of place. I ride hard and feel cer­tain I would have shred­ded most shorts this light by now.

A down­side? Not for women, yet. Not so fast! Fol­low­ing this review, I received feed­back about the fit for women. From sawyer and rid­er extra­or­di­naire, Xuân Mai Võ, “Ladies! ABit shorts aren’t male or female spe­cif­ic, and don’t need to be because the mate­r­i­al and design prac­ti­cal­ly gives you a cus­tom fit!”. She has a lot more to say and we will add it to the upcom­ing blog. Brit­ta will be post­ing her rec­om­men­da­tions in an upcom­ing post. *link will be here when it is live.

I guess there isn’t a downside!

Justin Van­der Pol mod­el­ing the Abit in Ath­let­ic fit, pho­to by Chad Black

So, who is Abit? Behind Abit is Justin Van­der Pol. Justin has been work­ing for the moun­tain bike com­mu­ni­ty for a long time and is a cor­ner­stone mem­ber of my local ride com­mu­ni­ty. He was exec­u­tive direc­tor of Ever­green Moun­tain Bike Alliance, orig­i­nal design­er of the infa­mous Duthie Moun­tain Bike Park and is fre­quent­ly found pick­ing up the shov­el for dig days.

The PNW is lush! Justin Van­der Pol mod­el­ing the Abit shorts in Ath­let­ic fit, pho­to by Chad Black

Gear review by Matt Paul, Very Seri­ous Bike Rid­er for Sacred Rides.